Sanu opens up about difficult tenure with Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Before last year's NFL trade deadline, the New England Patriots traded away a second-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for wide receiver Mohamed Sanu.
Sanu was supposed to be the missing piece to the puzzle for a Patriots offense that needed another weapon for then-quarterback Tom Brady. Unfortunately, the trade turned out to be one of the worst of the Bill Belichick era.
In eight games, Sanu caught only 26 passes for 207 yards and one touchdown. The veteran wideout opened up the difficult transition to New England in a conversation with Albert Breer of The MMQB.
“It was definitely a hard playbook,” Sanu said. “I get playbooks very easily—I understand the Falcons playbook like the back of my hand. People would say I was the quarterback of the receivers. When somebody forgot what they had or didn’t know a call, I knew exactly what everybody had, so they’d come to me. And I learn quickly. But that offense was much different. It was a harder process. You had to study. You had figure out how to master it.”
Sanu excited Patriots fans in his second game as a Patriot, a 10-catch, 81-yard performance vs. the Baltimore Ravens. Two weeks later vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, Sanu hurt his ankle on a punt return.
“That [Baltimore] game, that was the best I’d felt,” Sanu told Breer. “That was where I felt the most comfortable. I was getting ready to get going. And as soon as I broke that punt return, Boom! There was definitely a pop in my ankle. But just me being me, I’m not gonna sit out. I’m gonna try my best to play, I’m trying my best to show my teammates, coaches, organization, Y’all traded for me, you’re getting a tough competitor that’s gonna grind it out and be there for his team. And yeah, that ended up backfiring.”
“I tore a lot of stuff in my ankle,” Sanu added. “I was playing with some ligaments missing. It wasn’t stable. I couldn’t plant like I wanted to, cut like I wanted to. It was a lot.”
Sanu hasn't been the same since the injury. The 31-year-old was cut by the Patriots prior to the 2020 season, then spent three games with the San Francisco 49ers before being released on Oct. 6.